CleanBrowsing Common Questions and Troubleshooting Tips
CleanBrowsing offers you a solution to take control of the content on your network. It does by using the Domain Name System (DNS), specifically something that is known as DNS resolvers. These resolvers do the heavy lifting for each request made on your network, whether you're a large organization or a parent securing your home network. If you have an internet provider, ISP, then you have a network you're responsible for.
To make this work, you do require a basic understanding of your local machine and the network. In this guide we're going to try and capture some of the more common questions and provide better troubleshooting instructions; this should ensure that when we chat we're working off the same page.
Nothing is working, why?
When working with a support team it's extremely important to take the time to provide a little more context. We are not sitting next to you, unfortunately, so trying to make sense of what is happening is impossible.
To help, here are a few common questions we'll respond with and things you should consider:
- What have you done already?
- Are you using a Free or Paid plan?
- What is the exact issue you're facing?
- What operating system are you using? (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc..)?
- Did you try to configure this locally on the device, or at the router?
These questions will help us, help you.
Content is not Being Blocked
The most common troubleshooting issue is that the desired content is not being blocked. This can happen for a number of reasons.
- Misconfiguration in the Router or Device
- DNS is being HiJacked by ISP or Router
- Configured for IPv4 instead of IPv6
- Other weirdness with your network
- Bad Content is Slipping Through
1. Misconfiguration in the Router or Device
When configuring a router you want to make sure that you're configuring it inside the Wide Are Network (WAN) settings page. This will make sure that you cover your entire network. We have Guides for some of the more common router model.
In addition to IPv4 vs IPv6, see below, the most common issue when configuring locally is configuring the wrong network interface.
Using Wrong DNS IPs - Free vs Paid
A very common mistake is to forget to update the configured Free filters with your new paid DNS IP. They are not the same IPs.
A customer might have tried the Free filters first, then switched over to the pain plans. In these instances a customer might configure their router, but forget the original testing on the local machine. This creates a situation where the router is configured correctly, but the local DNS configuration is bypassing the router. It is always good to double check that your local system is obtaining the IP from the router or locally, and it's configured to the appropriate DNS resolver you are trying to test. If you purchase a plan, be sure to switch all your test systems to the DNS IPs provided in your dashboard.
A great way to verify which filter you are using is to run the following command in your terminal:
nslookup -q=TXT mylocation.whois.dnscontest.cleanbrowsing.org Server: 10.0.0.1 Address: 10.0.0.1#53 Non-authoritative answer: mylocation.whois.dnscontest.cleanbrowsing.org text = "CleanBrowsing: dns-edge-usa-west-la-v, 188.8.131.52"
This tells me that the CleanBrowsing DNS IP is: 184.108.40.206 so we now know you are using the Free filter, not a paid plan.
2. DNS is Being HiJacked by ISP or Router
The most problematic is when the network refuses to accept a local DNS change. This can cause a lot of frustration, and it does happen. It varies between ISP providers around the world, and your local environment.
There are some simple tests you can run via the command prompt / terminal to verify if this is the case.
nslookup badexample.com 220.127.116.11 Server: 18.104.22.168 Address: 22.214.171.124#53 ** server can't find badexample.com: NXDOMAIN
This test tried to query badexample.com using the Free CleanBrowsing Filter. The output you see here:
** server can't find badexample.com: NXDOMAIN
Is the expected result. If you query our DNS and you get something like this:
Non-authoritative answer: Name: badexample.com Address: 126.96.36.199
Then it's safe to say something is hijacking your DNS. In this instance, you'll want to use some of the more advanced options like DNSCrypt, DNS over TLS, or DNS over HTTPS. We have a more detailed troubleshooting guide to help with this.
If your ISP / Network is hijacking your traffic a really easy work around is to use Simple DNSCrypt. You can find a configuration guide here: Simple DNSCrypt Configuration Guide.
Note: This can also be affected by any other configurations you have like Parental Control or Advanced Security options with your ISP.
3. Configured for IPv4 instead of IPv6
This is another one of those configurations that can cause problems. There has been a big push over recent years to migrate, or at least adopt, to IPv6. This means a lot of devices are setting IPv6 by default on their devices (routers and computers). This means it's going to be in your interest to account for this change by setting both IPv4 and IPv6 when configuring CleanBrowsing.
4. Weirdness With Network
Other times it honestly comes down to some weirdness in the network. It can be an incompatible router. It could be the topology in place on the network. It could be that the ISP has to give access prior to the change. In either case, we're committed to helping the best we can.
If we get to a point that engaging via email is not helping we might ask to do a screen share so that we can see what you're seeing. When we do this, we leverage an application called TeamViewer. It's a highly secure platform that allows us to see and take control of the environment, critical to helping us to understand what is going on.
When we log in we might ask you to have your router information readily available so that we can log in.
5. Bad Content is Slipping Through
We work to be as effective as possible in our detection. Sometimes we miss things. You can help improve our engines by reporting those misses. We gladly accept all feedback. Please send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.